We had the good fortune of connecting with Keith Chapman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keith, what role has risk played in your life or career?
To me, life itself is risk. When I was younger, I approached physical risks with relative ease. I’d do these advanced hikes and end up walking across a land arch with a 1000 foot fall on either side or jump across a 3-foot gap from a cliff to a flat spire at Canyonlands National Park 1500 ft above the floor. I remember my wife and I almost falling off of a cliff on the Na Pali Coast on Kauai after a crazy gust of wind that whipped around the corner while we were on a really narrow trail that was not well maintained. That one reset my view on physical risk a bit. When I was young I took these physical risks in stride but did not take a lot of mental risks. I played it relatively safe with school, relationships and my career. The result with a safer mental approach when I was young was that I never much got into trouble with substances or relationships and I never wanted to blow off my responsibilities, I think that gave me a great foundation and a strong work ethic. This has served me well because as I got older and had kids of my own, I went to a safer place physically and don’t do too extreme hikes now (though some I do still require better-than-average skills). However, I have taken on much more mental risk by starting my own company, challenging myself musically, challenging myself in other areas all just trying to improve myself and to really live life to its fullest. I realized over the past 10 years or so what stress from corporate America can do to you and how unrealistic it is for me to keep that type of pressure on myself. The stress of working for someone else is somehow way more than entrepreneurship. I feel this way because there is too much dependence on someone else or a group of “someone elses” who may not personally care about you at all. They put unrealistic goals on you knowing you’ll likely fall short but probably still get to where they really needed to be. Meanwhile, you get wrung out trying to hit a goal and then go back to them seeking a reward. It’s a difficult system. When you work for yourself and with a team you actually do care for personally, it changes. The responsibility is more. The corporate risk of caring is more, but the stress is less because you can make changes right away to adapt to the environment or simply create a better dynamic. I have a good friend that said she is grateful for fear because any time she is afraid to do something, she does it any way and it makes her better. She improves herself, has better experiences, and eradicates the fear she once had. To me that is real growth. A child has fear about things that an adult might never have because of… experience. They likely had the fear earlier in life but they took the risk of experiencing something and realized what they could actually do. Risk is essential for life, a full life. We all have a limited time to experience this life so without risk, I’m not sure what the point would be. I’ve embraced the Latin phrase Memento Mori for my life and for our business, Bone Haus Brewing. It means “remember you die” and is actually a Stoic call to life. Do it now. Take the calculated risk now for tomorrow may be too late. It is what motivates me and my team. We have another phrase in my company that gets used a lot. When we find one of us deflated, injured, sick or otherwise down, someone else usually tells them “Hey, you can’t die. We have shit to do.” We embrace the risk and just push forward and we know that will end someday for each of us, but we can all look back in those last moments and feel good about the effort we put into our lives.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
In 2018, we created Bone Haus Brewing, Fountain Hills’ first brewery. The tap room is unlike any other tap room you might have visited. We designed the brand and the decor around the legends and lore of 1800’s Arizona history and keep on brand as much as possible with everything we do in as much detail as we can. This deep branding and stellar customer service is what I believe keeps customers engaged and returning. Of course, you can develop a deep and engaging brand but without a high quality product, customers simply won’t return. My partner and master brewer, Andy Weiner, constantly strives to improve our beer and our manufacturing process which in turn leads to a better and better product. I believe our customers are noticing that either consciously or subconsciously based on the wonderful compliments we get on our beer. The brand and the beer are great complements to one another. I learned about developing a brand and more importantly, growing and evolving a brand when I worked very closely with the marketing department at Fender Musical Instruments over 18 years. As the head of research and development, I found myself in the middle of art and science, a very happy place for me. I learned very quickly that Fender’s most successful campaigns were when they sold the dream of becoming a rock star (in loose terms), not when they sold the specifications of a product. The products are what assist you in reaching your goals. It isn’t that the product is great. It’s that the product provides you a path to become great. For us, since our product is great tasting beer, we focus on the community and the adventure you experience when you share a beer with friends. Our brewery provides events ranging from animal education to treasure hunting, from fly fishing to cycling, from hiking to yoga, from great music to great food. Most of these events are driven by artists and educators not within the company. Our tag line, Beer for the Adventure, sums it up for us. We make great beer that you can enjoy on your adventure however you might define that. Maybe it’s the reward after a hard hike. Maybe it’s the bonding agent to catching up with a close friend. Maybe it’s the way to blow off steam and reset after a stressful day. You won’t find televisions in our tap room. People focus on interacting with other people. They meet new friends. They reconnect with old friends and have no distractions to do so. It is one of the greatest elements of our business, providing a venue for people to connect. They connect to others or connect to something they are passionate about. And that is what we are all about. Follow your passions and get to work on those dreams because we all have limited time and tomorrow is not ever guaranteed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ok, well in a week, you could cover a lot of ground in Phoenix. There are some pretty spectacular things to do here. So for drinking, one of my favorite places to drink is at the Valley Bar in downtown Phoenix. You access this place through a dark alley and then go downstairs to this warm and vibey basement with great music, interesting people, and great atmosphere. Biases aside, I would also make sure they visited our brewery Bone Haus Brewing in Fountain Hills. It truly is a unique experience. For food, I love Cornish Pasty in downtown Phoenix. I also really love HopDoddy’s in Scottsdale for a great burger. My all-time favorite restaurant in the valley though is Hiro Sushi in Scottsdale. I used to take our Japanese co-workers and vendors there and they raved about it. It is truly a great sushi bar. For other unique experiences, I would recommend the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix as they allow for a complete deep dive into the instruments that make the music of our lifetimes. I also think the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum at Falcon Field in Mesa is a great way to see history. I used to take my kids there all the time. It’s not often you can have your kids walk through a real, actually still flying B-17. Finally, this state has so many great hiking opportunities. Just in the valley area, we have the Four Peaks wilderness area, Lost Dutchman State Park, Papago Park and Camelback Mountain and within a relatively short drive, so much more from the Mogollon Rim to the Grand Canyon. It’s just a spectacular state.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to give a shoutout to my wife, Becky. She is the most supportive wife I could possibly imagine. Our relationship is easy to begin with but what takes it over the top is her consistent support of my drive, my dreams, my work, my efforts, and my need to create. She sacrifices her time and her own efforts frequently to support mine and likewise, I try my best to support her creative efforts in photography, martial arts and great friendships she has. I think one cannot support another without some form of reciprocation. You and yours have to move in the same direction, otherwise you find yourselves driving away from each other. My parents, Sam and Jackie, have always been supportive too. At a young age, they let me explore things and take risks. They encouraged and had words of caution here and there. It was a very balanced way to grow up. And lastly, my close circle of friends is incredibly powerful to me. It’s a safe zone. I can retreat to this group, take off the armor, sit back and relax, be myself, recharge, and get back to the battle of life to keep pushing for better. Sure, we party hard and we work hard, but we have all consciously agreed to a support structure where when someone in the group is down, we pick them up. It is deeper than having a few friends over. These people have my back and when you call, they answer. If you don’t have a group like that, I recommend you form one. It gives me additional confidence and drive.
Rebecca Bloom Photography Mikel Whelan